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Meet Nancy Hill of Hazel & Violet in Downtown/Grand Avenue

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Hill.

Nancy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My friend and I had always been interested in typography and paper. She had taken a 5-hr Letterpress class and so we decided to buy a small tabletop press. Instead, I went on to Craig’s List and we bought out an old print shop in Apache Junction. We reworked her garage in Auwahukee and started learning how to print. Our first job was a three-color wedding suite for her brother – it took us forever and was like a 2-year printing course. It turns out that printing is a disease and I now have six presses.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I started this adventure, I had a 60 hour a week job… so we became midnight printers in our spare time. My friend moved out of town and that was the start of my press moving business. I have moved four times to accommodate equipment changes and the whims of Phoenix urban renewal. There are always challenges staying afloat as a small business but, we are doing great since landing on Historic Grand Avenue.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are letterpress printers. Letterpress is a form of relief printing. We use handset metal and wood type – inked and pressed into paper on our 6 vintage printing presses – one piece at a time.

We have a small stationery store in our shop with our cards, personal stationery and art prints.

We print custom letterpress wedding Invitations, business cards, and announcements.

We are open every Friday night and on First and Third Friday night we take part in the art walk on Grand Avenue… we set up posters to print and everyone who comes in gets to print their own and take it home for free. Many times this leads to our favorite endeavor – Workshops! We have a workshop every weekend and some evenings. It is a fantastic way to go analog and get inky. Once you have taken a workshop or have previous printing experience, our presses are available to rent for an hourly rate.

How do you define success?
Job 1 is paying the rent. What we do to make that happen: introducing people to printing; creating an environment where anyone can learn to hand make prints and cards, and creating unique paper products for special events is fun and rewarding. Hard to beat that for success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
all photos by Catherine Sly

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